The lifeblood of a farm is water. Without water, everything will die. Luckily, Tennessee gets a lot of rain (50 to 60 inches). If water is not available on-grid (and maybe even if it is) we will want ways to capture and store rainwater.

We will need potable water for drinking, cooking, bathing, dishes, and laundry. Water catchment entering the domiciles will go through a filtration system and then into a holding tank. For water heating, we may install a propane or electric system. A solar water heater could be installed to preheat water. There will likely be experiments with thermo-siphoning heated water to a tank on an upper level for showers.

This captured water will not require the amount of filtration that the potable water will get. Rainwater is much healthier for plants and soil life. By using a combination of hydroponics and wicking beds, water use will be minimized in the greenhouse system and nutrients can be added directly to the water supply.

We will need water for servicing livestock in or near the barn. The Drinking Post waterers from Timeless Posts are interesting and might service some of our livestock. If we’re on grid, we’ll also get a frost-free hydrant for work that requires a hose or bucket.

For getting water out onto acreage, you’ll want multiple water sources. A stream on the property would be ideal. Ponds that catch rainwater runoff will probably be needed as well. To get that water to the pastures and livestock, Joel Salatin recommends an irrigation system called K-Line Irrigation. It’s modular, expandable, and cost effective. You can put it where you want it with no digging and no affecting your fencing or trees. In freezing weather, you just drain it, roll it up, and store it in the barn until the spring thaw.

Water Storage
Tanks and water lines will need to be protected from freezing. The frost depth for Tennessee is 12 inches according to this website which is a great improvement to our current depth of 32 inches. For water pressure, we will need to either raise the holding tank or install a pump or water pressure tank, or some combination of the two.